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Africa News of Saturday, 17 July 2021

Source: GNA

AfCFTA raises bust to honour former Nigerien leader

Mahamadou Issoufou, Former Nigerien leader Mahamadou Issoufou, Former Nigerien leader

Former Nigerien leader, Mahamadou Issoufou has been honoured for his sterling contribution to the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in a ceremony in Accra Friday.

To that end, a bust of Mr Issoufou, who championed the AfCFTA agenda, when he served as Chairman of the Union (AU), was unveiled by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the forecourt of the Accra World Trade Centre, which houses the AfCFTA Secretariat.

Issoufou, 69, last March became the sixth recipient of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. The Award recognises and celebrates excellence in African leadership.

At a ceremony attended by several African leaders including Congo's Felix Tshisekedi Tshilombo, Faure Gnassingbe of Togo, Burkinabe President Christian Kabore, Niger's Mohamed Bazoum, President Akufo-Addo celebrated the invaluable contribution of Mr Issoufou to the coming into being of the historic and strategic AfCFTA.

He said through Mr Issoufou's work, the continent was now accelerating intra-African trade and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market.

"As a result of President Issoufou’s relentless efforts, we have taken great strides in realizing the Africa we want.

The President said the AfCFTA, which is strengthening Africa’s common voice in global trade negotiations, would have rippling effects on the lives of all Africans.

With a population of 1.2 billion and a combined GDP of US$3.5 trillion, he said the AfCFTA represented a unique opportunity for the economic transformation of the continent.

President Akufo-Addo commended former President Issoufou, for ensuring that the process of getting a host city was fair and transparent.

“Ghanaians are grateful to the AU under his guidance for being selected,” he said.

The Secretary-General of AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, described former President Issoufou as a true son of Africa who had contributed to advancing the ideals of pan-Africanism.

“As we celebrate the progress made under the leadership of President Mahadou, let us be in no doubt, much work remains ahead in the implementation of the AfCFTA”.

“There will be challenges that may seem insurmountable, it is at that point that we should redouble our resolve to forge ahead with economic integration of our continent,” he said